The cheapest toys can usually be found in our own home, especially kitchen and today we will share with us various ways to play with things we already have at hand! Read on to see more than 15 ways to turn kitchen cupboard items into toys for a child’s play.
When my son was 18 months old I looked around our living room and noticed I was surrounded by plastic. Every inch of carpet space was occupied by a toy that either made a noise, had flashing lights or moved. However, Adam was bored.
I flicked through a toy catalogue to see what toy I could buy next to occupy him when I realised we would be in the same situation in a few days time. We would have yet more plastic in our living room, less money and a bored toddler. Something had to change.
The more a toy does, the less your child has to do
The saying “the more a toy does, the less your child has to do” holds true. Typically toys require our children to sit and watch the toy perform which is entertaining rather than educational. I wanted to find another way to entertain my child.
Whilst making lunch I opened our kitchen cupboard and suddenly saw the items inside it in a new light. Here I had so many resources that could be turned into toys or sensory play experiences. I never needed to visit a toy shop again!
Adam and I embarked on a 100 day toddler play challenge which opened my eyes to how many everyday household objects can be used to entertain and aid young children’s development.
15+ WAYS TO TURN KITCHEN CUPBOARD ITEMS INTO TOYS
Pegs / Clothespines
Most households have them readily available. Clothespins can be used as a simple peg drop activity, seen as an emergency play activity in our house. It’s amazing how long toddlers will concentrate on transferring activities.
Pegs can be easily painted in a zip-loc bag and made into:
As your toddler moves on to pre-writing skills opening and closing clothes pegs is a fantastic way of developing a pincer grip.
More ideas: 33 Ideas for Playful Learning with Clothespins
Toilet Rolls or Paper Towel Inserts
Toilet rolls not usually seen as a play activity but the possibilities are endless. Not only are toilet rolls great for stacking and rolling but save the cardboard tubes and they can be used in many different ways.
Ideas range is vast! You can use toilet paper rolls for:
Take a note that those tubes you would normally recycle can be used for free play instead. So, keep them!
Drinking straws are not just to be used for drinking with. Grab a variety of kitchen cupboard items and a packet of straws and see what activities your little one makes up – items with holes in work best.
Plastic bottles can be recycled into a number of play activities:
- Place small items inside to create discovery bottles.
- See if your little one can post pipe cleaners into a large plastic bottle.
- Place a bottle on top of a mirror and push pom poms in through the top – it creates a fantastic optical illusion.
- Plastic bottles can also be used outside to create a huge DIY water wall!
Plastic or paper cups
How many different ways can your toddler find to stack plastic cups? They are also great for filling, aiding your child’s concept of volume, building towers and knocking them down will teach your child about cause and effect.
Pushing pipe cleaners through the holes of a colander is a super activity for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
More ideas: 5 Fun Activities for Kids with a Colander
Pots and Pans
Pots and pans make super musical instruments. You can either place them in a circle on the kitchen floor or why not attach a string to the handles and hang them from a gate, bush or laundry tree.
Using a variety of kitchen utensils – your toddler will have great fun banging away and creating their own music. They will be experimenting with listening to the different sounds made as each utensil strikes the individual pots.
Why you should consider using kitchen cupboard items?
Kitchen cupboard items can help develop fine and gross motor skills, enhance your toddlers thinking skills and thought processes and help build your child’s self-esteem as they accomplish new tasks. Plus you never have to rely on having AAA batteries in the house ever again!
During a difficult pregnancy suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) Emma vowed to make every day an adventure once she had recovered. Adventures and Play is the outcome of completing a 100 day play challenge with her toddler as part of that promise.
In Less Toys. More Play. article series we share ideas how to reduce toy consumerism, unclutter child’s rooms and bring more engaged play to our children.
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